While most photographers dabble in nudes at some point in their career, French photographer Xavier Lucchesi takes it a step further by getting under his subjects’ skin. He takes portraits of people via x-ray and then adds vivid, varied colors to bones, organs, and arteries using medical imaging technology.
Sometimes his subjects pose with objects like roses or racquets, while others simply cross their arms. Call it the contemporary daguerreotype, but instead of sitting for 30 minutes in a photographer’s studio, Lucchesi’s subjects spend time starting at the ceiling of an MRI machine for a couple minutes. That’s comparatively long for a photo in our Snapchat-heavy times.
Besides capturing the complexity of human physiology, Lucchesi explores the intricacies of other species, both animal and mechanical. He has x-rayed a variety of underwater creatures including a crab and a dolphin, while another series of work exposes the inner workings of a Nespresso coffee machine and a motorbike.
One of Lucchesi’s artistic videos makes airport scanning into an art form before degrading into James Turrellish purple circles. Another film shows some of Lucchesi’s process, backed by an old-fashioned voiceover that perfectly captures the project: “We’ve been married for a terribly long time,” the voice says. “I’ve never noticed your ears before.” Lucchesi’s project highlights our bodily complacency, using sophisticated medical technology to show us what is literally right under our noses.